Fireplace care

ChristmasFireDogIs there anything more comforting than a roaring fire on a cold winter night? This year, make sure your fireplace is in top shape, both inside and out.

The first thing all woodburning fireplace owners should do is get the chimney inspected – at least every year. “The chimney is critical to functioning and safety,” says Dana Moroz, manager of customer service at Napoleon Fireplace. “It’s important not just to clean this out, but to inspect for cracks.”

As wood burns, it sends up a layer of creosote that condenses and builds up along the chimney, causing blockages. The buildup also insulates the steel of the chimney, causing the temperature to lower and more creosote to build up.

“Creosote is unburned fuel: if it gets hot enough in the chimney, it can sustain its own fire,” Moroz says.

A misconception about gas fireplaces is they don’t need any maintenance, but most manufacturers suggest a yearly preventative check-up, to ensure proper functioning. One task homeowners should be doing every year is cleaning these out, to ensure the burners aren’t blocked.

“Spiders are attracted to gas and will build their nest in the burners,” Moroz says. “You should also clean all the build-up out of the blowers, stuff like ash and pet hair. This will ensure your fireplace works properly for a lot longer.”

As fireplace season starts, there are also ways to make sure your fireplace is looking like new again.

“It’s a good idea to clean off the windows of a gas fireplace,” says Kent Greves, vice president of Diamond Fireplace & Stone. “We have a special cream cleaner that rubs off, taking off the film that occurs on all gas fireplace windows. It’s best to clean this residue off before it becomes too thick, otherwise it can etch onto the glass, which is much more difficult to clean.”

Water and vinegar works for cleaning purposes as well, but make sure to not use any ammonia-based cleaning products on your fireplace. If the paint is beginning to fade or scratch, homeowners can touch up their units with high temperature paint.

Many people with gas fireplaces turn off their pilot light over the summer. If you forget how to light it again, check out the video on how to do this at

In order to make sure your home is as safe as possible, now is a great time of the year to ensure your smoke and CO2 detectors are working.

“When you have your first fire of the season, it can smell like dust burning,” Moroz says. “This is normal and should go away.

“The greatest danger with fireplaces is that of chimney fires. But having a smoke detector in the home can help to protect against neglect.”

Word of the day:

Adamantine: utterly unyielding or firm in attitude or opinion; too hard to cut, break, or pierce.


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